August  24,  2017 by Robin Russo , Partner in E-Reports

Tapping Dads in the Purchase Cycle


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March  01,  2017 by Robin Russo , in Agency News

RLA Collective Wins for Digital Marketing/Advertising at the 2017 North American Innovation & Insights Sabre Awards Ceremony


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February  15,  2017 by Laura Giardina , in Health Marketing Strategies

Trying to reach caregivers? Let us help you.


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November  14,  2016 by Robin Russo , President in Client Success

Growing Consumer Brands


It’s always nice when a client confirms that our marketing efforts are working for them – and even better, when the media showcases that success. Here’s a great profile piece on one of our clients in MMR’s October 31st edition and how they’ve been turning around their 45-year old brand, from new packaging and increased distribution into chains to integrated consumer marketing with RLA Collective. And the data show it’s working, with double-digit 52- week sales increases.

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August  04,  2016 by Alyson O'Mahoney , Executive Vice President/Partner in OTC PR & Social Media

Social Marketing is More Than Social Media


What an OTC brand (really, any brand!) is doing on their social media channels results in what is ultimately a real-time transcript of their marketing efforts (one that not only marketers, like myself, can see, but also your consumers, investors and retailers who sell your products or services).  We may have no idea how many flights of that TV spot you are running, not a clue where you might be sampling, or no inkling at which HCP trade shows you are exhibiting, but we can see how you are engaging with your audience in channels that instantly allocate popularity, drive movement to trial, generate conversation, and, in doing so, create trust and goodwill for your brand.

If a video is uploaded to YouTube, we can see the views and comments.  If a photo is posted on Instagram, we know the number of likes and tags.  On Facebook, well, there’s so much more to see.  We can see who likes, who shares, who comments and how you invite and manage this engagement (Is your content interesting and applicable to your brand’s focus? Do you take an interested consumer and push them further along the purchase path with a “where to buy” link? Do you even respond in a reasonable time, or at ALL?).

See, the channels are social media, but how these channels are managed is social marketing, and I can tell you that a large number of brands who have social media ARE NOT doing social marketing.  Posting pictures in a calendar schedule using hashtags isn’t social marketing. Sharing third party links of content quasi-related to your brand category and or demographic isn’t social marketing.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not right. The brands doing this, and there are many, are leaving so much on the table.

Here’s an example: I recently perused the Facebook page of an OTC product I was interested in approaching in the cold category – one that’s well-known, yet still has a cult-following vibe (perfect for social marketing!) only to see that their daily Facebook posts get extremely low (um, almost zero) engagement (yet the page size is more than 1 million, though size is somewhat irrelevant these days).  To be honest, their community manager could accidentally post the letter “T” as a status update and get more engagement and curiosity on that than some of their slick, well-produced visual content.

The sad reality is that most of what people consider their social marketing is really just smoke and mirrors. Stylized product shots may make your internal brand marketing/managers happy (the person I talked to from the above-mentioned company thought their social media was doing great!), but what is the consumer really doing with it? If the answer is “not much,” then you have social media, but you definitely don’t have social marketing.

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June  16,  2016 by Robin Russo , President in OTC PR & Social Media

Enough Already About Millennials


Frankly, I’m over the constant obsession with millennials – in particular, how brands can reach them. The generation of the moment, we know most millennials can’t find good jobs, aren’t earning as much as their parents did when they were younger (the national average is $31,000 – $35,000 annually) and therefore don’t have a lot of money to spend. They are seriously self-focused (what younger generation isn’t?), technologically advanced (they grew up with technology) and are heavily involved in social media (the perfect outlet for their self-promotion). When it comes to brands, they rely on reviews and recommendations from those who share their opinions and lifestyle versus what brands tell them. So why all the fuss and obsession with reaching millennials when they aren’t even such big buyers of most of the products we market and sell – OTCs?

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June  14,  2016 by Robin Russo , President in OTC PR & Social Media

Is Price Still Really “King” in a World Where Social Media is So Important?


I started my communications career in the 80s, when we believed that it took 3 impressions for a consumer to react, which seemed like a lot! How were we going to accomplish that? We were happy to make one impression! Now, with social media and digital so much a part of our daily lives, we’re talking about needing 24 impressions, with so many options and places to cover in order to reach someone And the more expensive the item, the more consumers now want to check with others – opinion shopping, I like to call it. Who hasn’t checked out a review on a TV, car or hotel? But commodities, like groceries and OTCs, they should be price and shelf driven, right? Who has the time and energy to seek out opinions when grocery shopping? Well according to the Integer research group, price may no longer be king, and the opinions of others are not only important for high-ticket items, but even for commodities, like groceries. They are quantifying what RLA has been saying for some time: The rise of social media has made consumers more likely to ask others’ opinions before buying — three times more likely!People are more focused, they make lists and consider their time more valuable (36% up from 21%), wanting to get in and out of the store as fast as possible (I can’t agree more!) with many willing to pay more if it makes their lives easier.

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June  08,  2016 by Robin Russo , President in OTC PR & Social Media

Alternative TV Requires Alternative Marketing


Ok, ok, TV isn’t dead (we’re not trying to start a riot here!), but if your OTC brand’s target is millennials – the much-documented generation born between 1980 and 2000 – it might actually be time to “cut the cord” with traditional TV advertising. The popularity of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and the recent announcement that Apple is planning to launch an online TV service is case in point that traditional TV may, in the not too distant future, become a thing of the past.

A recent survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates showed that among 18-to-34 year olds, only 21% see TV as their primary medium for entertainment, down from 40%. This is not to say that millennials aren’t spending hours each day watching TV, just that they, like many other consumers, are moving away from “traditional” television to watching alternative TV.

Not convinced? Consider this: 59% of U.S. households pay for a subscription video-on-demand service, according to the Magid survey. And, as offerings for online subscriptions services grow, with recent entries by Showtime, HBO, ESPN, CBS News and Nickelodeon, at the same time that the cost for cable subscriptions keeps rising, millennials are breaking up with their cable providers – big time. To illustrate how this trend is picking up steam, a growing number of millennials are doing the unthinkable – not having a TV at all, opting instead to view TV content on their digital screens: 68% consume their media on a computer, 29% from a tablet and 31% from a smartphone.

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June  05,  2016 by Alyson O’Mahoney , EVP/Partner in OTC PR & Social Media

Today’s Tip: For the “Health” of Your Brand…


Maybe you don’t have a branded Pinterest page, but that doesn’t mean your product can’t play in this space. Make sure all key visual assets of your website are PINNABLE! That’s right, your product and brand image assets are all easily shareable by consumers in Pinterest if you allow them to be and

give consumers a bit of direction — with a PIN IT button. Add a Pin It option on all your product images and visual content, along with brief, yet informative captions for each image, and let consumers help you market your message in Pinterest. Make sure you or your website company visits here for Pinterest developer information.

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June  03,  2016 by Alyson O’Mahoney , EVP/Partner in OTC PR & Social Media

Being Short is In


From digital acronyms — LOL, BTW, ICYMI…WTF (oops!) — to memes, #hashtags or Tweets, consumers are now trained, even reliant on short, succinct messages or, let’s face it, SYMBOLS of messages (think emojis!), than ever before. Sure, we can argue that we’ve always been
attracted to short bunches of words — pithy greeting cards, candy hearts that beg you to “BE MINE” or fortune cookies that spell your fate, but we do better with shorter more than ever before. Being short is in, and brand messaging needs to be the same.

Today’s attention spans have shrunk, with studies showing that 1/3 of website visitors will abandon a site if it takes 1-5 seconds to load….one. to. five. seconds to load. Imagine if your content, visuals,
messaging doesn’t immediately hit the mark if they do stick around. Sayonara!

This applies to all the channels you market in — from your TV spot to your Facebook updates. It means getting to the point, and fast — with both words and visuals. And guess what, writing shorter means you actually start to focus on what matters — the key message that is important to your brand
and your consumer.

Take a moment to think about your key brand messages if they were written in a greeting card, a candy heart or a fortune cookie. LMK what nets out — you might see that your message is simpler and shorter than you thought!

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